@nascarcasm dreams up Logano's Facebook page after his win on Sunday RELATED: All content from @nascarcasm " Follow @nascarcasm
RELATED: Homestead-Miami hosting Goodyear tire test HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Waiting out a morning shower in the Homestead-Miami Speedway garage on Wednesday, reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick was dressed casually but clearly at work, talking with his Stewart-Haas Racing crew as they hovered over laptop computers and gestured toward his plain gray No. 4 Chevrolet SS. The last time this group was at this track, they were getting showered in champagne, not rain, celebrating Harvick's 2014 Sprint Cup Series championship title, thanks to a victory in the season finale here. But it was all business for Harvick Wednesday as he and nine other drivers came to the 1.5-mile track for a one-day open test for Sprint Cup teams, attended by three of last year's four championship contenders, also including last week's winner Joey Logano ( Team Penske ) and Denny Hamlin ( Joe Gibbs Racing ). RELATED: Anheuser-Busch to change look of SHR's No. 4 car in 2016 "You know, I actually hadn't even thought about it to tell you the truth," a smiling Harvick said of his first time back at Homestead since his title-winning performance last November. "I know that doesn't make for a great story, but no one [on the team] has even mentioned it. Everything happens so fast in this sport from a week-to-week basis and you get so caught up in what you need to do the next week. "We're always trying to look forward so I really hadn't thought about everything that happened last year. We're so focused on being in position, to hopefully have a chance to do that again and get back here." Harvick's primary championship challengers were of similar mindset. And like all of the 10 drivers here -- also including Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Kyle Larson , Martin Truex Jr ., Ty Dillon , Ryan Blaney , Clint Bowyer and Trevor Bayne -- the lone opportunity to turn some extra test laps at Homestead is something not to be missed, even if track time boiled down to a couple late morning hours before heavier rains interrupted the schedule. With the elimination-style format of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs heading into its second year, the importance of the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway has increased exponentially. When the Sprint Cup Series arrives in South Florida in three months, four drivers will be eligible for the title – the highest finisher in this race will be crowned champion. Last year, Harvick won the race and therefore, the season trophy. Logano , who collected his third win in the No. 22 Team Penske Ford last weekend at Bristol, also spoke about the emphasis teams now place specifically on being prepared for Homestead. MORE: Logano victorious in Bristol night race "Hopefully this test is very important for us," Logano said with a slight laugh. "You hope it is [because that means you're in the championship hunt.] Just getting to here (season finale) is a challenge. "If we do, then this test today will be the most important test of the year. So we definitely want to put a lot into it and make sure we get a lot out of it and really understand what we learned out of it." Logano's three wins would rank him right behind the season's four-time winners Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch for the start of the Chase on Sept. 20 at Chicagoland Speedway and like Harvick, Logano believes his team is right where it needs to be at this point in the season. "Right now, we're peaking at the right spot, and getting a couple wins in the last three weeks is what we need to do heading into the Chase," said Logano , who finished 16th in the 2014 Homestead race. "Winning the Bristol night race last year kind of propelled us into the Chase, I thought, and gave us good momentum into the Chase. Getting all the way to here [Homestead] was a heck of an accomplishment. And we just need to focus on what we need to do. I feel like as a team we learned a lot in terms of how to execute a championship weekend." RELATED: Harvick scores another runner-up finish It looks like everyone will have to raise their game to dethrone Harvick, however, who has a pair of wins and a series-best 17 top-five finishes highlighted by 10 runner-up showings already this season. "We've struck a pretty good course in terms of being able to have a plan in place for the Chase, and everyone has done a good job in terms of being prepared when it comes time for Chicago," Harvick said. "We've been ready every week. We've just got to keep doing those things. ... No different than last year when we made it happen when it counted." WATCH: Harvick chases Logano in the closing laps at Bristol
RELATED: Full results from Bristol " Updated standings BRISTOL, Tenn. -- With Kevin Harvick hounding him mercilessly for 63 laps, Joey Logano kept his No. 22 Team Penske Ford out front after taking the lead on a Lap 438 restart and held on to win Saturday's Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Successfully defending last year's victory at Thunder Valley, Logano won his third race of the season, his second at the .533-mile short track and the 11th of his career. Harvick recovered from two pit-road penalties to finish second, a mere .220 seconds behind Logano . Polesitter Denny Hamlin ran third, and Clint Bowyer got a much-needed fourth place result in his No. 15 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota. RELATED: Ragan, Bowyer get turned at Bristol It was a fascinating chase over the final 63 laps, as Harvick would bury his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet into the corner at the top of the track, catch Logano in the turns and watch as Logano dived to the bottom on corner exit and pull away. "There's not much time to look in the rearview mirror, but I realized how different his line was than mine," Logano said. "He'd drive in so hard and almost get to my back bumper, and then I'd drive off really good. "It's kind of interesting to watch a race like that, when two cars are a similar speed, but in two completely different ways. That's what's so fun about Bristol is you can drive the car about five or six different ways and make it fast, so it's fun to race here." Harvick said Logano's ability to diamond the corner gave the Ford an advantage when it came to working traffic. "He was just one step ahead of me in traffic," Harvick said. "I couldn't get my car to rotate across the center like I needed it to, and every time I tried to force it, it would snap the back out. He was able to go in really high and before the center of the corner drive down the corner and I was just having to wait just a split second to be able to put the throttle back down, and I couldn't do that, that huge diamond all the way to the bottom like he could, and that was really beneficial for him through traffic… "He was able to get those huge runs up off the exit of the corner and just stayed one step ahead of me through traffic, I felt like, and in clean air we probably were a little faster, but it didn't really matter. I had to be in front of him to show that." Brad Keselowski came home fifth, followed by Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch , who led a race-high 192 laps but was hit with a pit road speeding penalty on his last stop under yellow on Lap 432. Logano took over from there and racked up 176 laps out front in a race that saw 14 lead changes among five drivers. The runner-up finish was Harvick's 10th of the season. Dale Earnhardt Jr . finished ninth, followed by Ryan Newman and Jamie McMurray , who solidified their positions in the fight for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup berths on points. McMurray and Newman are 10th and 11th in the standings, respectively, the highest-scored drivers without a victory this season. Given that there have been only 11 different winners in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this year, at least three drivers are certain to qualify for the Chase on points. Kyle Busch , a four-time winner and 29th in the standings, also moved closer to locking up a Chase berth, padding his advantage to 46 points over 31st-place Cole Whitt . Busch, who missed the first 11 events of the season because of injury, must remain in the top 30 for the next two races to qualify for the Chase. Busch wasn't pleased when NASCAR flagged him for the speeding penalty, but he made a masterful drive from the rear of the field to eighth place. "I was proud of Kyle, keeping his cool and getting back up, because I think that gave us some more points, some more cushion there," team owner Joe Gibbs said. "I think he's doing a really good job of focusing and not losing his poise."
Ride along with Kevin Harvick as he tries to chase down race-leader Joey Logano in the final laps at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Logano dishes on Bristol win, sneezing while racing and more
Jonathan Merryman talks with Joey Logano in Victory Lane about the thrilling battle with Kevin Harvick in the closing laps and shows off his new trophies for winning at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Joey Logano holds off Kevin Harvick in the final laps to win the Irwin Tools Night Race for the second year in a row at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Joey Logano celebrates in Victory Lane after grabbing his second checkered flag in past three races at Bristol Motor Speedway.
RELATED: Full qualifying results Joey Logano won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International on Saturday. The driver of the No. 12 Team Penske Ford set the pace with a speed of 124.308 mph (a new track record) in the final round of qualifying. His teammate Brad Keselowski will start second after posting a speed of 123.607 mph. Chase Elliott , Kyle Larson and series points leader Chris Buescher round out the top five. The group qualifying procedure for a road course includes two rounds, the first being 25 minutes. The 12 fastest cars from the opening session advanced to the 10-minute final round. Logano paced the first session as well, followed by Keselowski. Ty Dillon was 14th in the first session before his final run vaulted him up to sixth, advancing the driver of the No. 3 Chevrolet into the final round and knocking Brendan Gaughan out. Dillon will start sixth. Morgan Shepherd did not qualify for the race in the No. 89 Chevrolet but will drive the No. 40 Toyota in the race. The Zippo 200 is scheduled for later today at 3 p.m. ET (NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM).
RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- Penalty? So what? Polesitter Joey Logano shook off a pit road infraction that sent him to the back of the field early in Saturday’s Zippo 200 at The Glen. But by the end of the NASCAR XFINITY Series race, Logano ’s No. 12 Team Penske Ford was comfortably at the front of the field. The only other car that was close was the No. 22 of teammate Brad Keselowski , who recovered from a pit road speeding penalty to finish second. "Everything went as planned," said Logano , who was penalized for dragging a fuel can from his pit stall after a green-flag stop on Lap 20 of 82. "It was fun to have a car that was that fast, out there racing these guys and racing your teammate there for the win. It shows a lot about our organization." Logano was 22nd when he restarted on Lap 27 after NASCAR threw the second caution of the race to retrieve the errant fuel can. With the help of two quick cautions, he drove quickly to the front, and on Lap 49, Logano passed Keselowski for the lead, drag-racing his teammate from the exit of Turn 7 to the start/finish line and clearing him through Turn 1. "I knew my car was fast enough to get there," Logano said of the quick run to the front. "I didn’t know if I was going to run them all down in that one run like that. I didn’t think that would happen, but it showed a lot of strength in our race car." It was the first road course victory for Logano in any of NASCAR’s top series. "I’ve been so close to winning with the 22 team on the (Sprint) Cup side and this XFINITY team has been close to winning here lately, so it’s nice to get Team Penske back in Victory Lane," said Logano , who had Sprint Cup crew chief Todd Gordon calling the race and his Sprint Cup crew servicing the car on pit road to gain experience for Sunday’s Cheez-It 355 at The Glen (2 p.m. ET on NBCSN), the 22nd race on the Cup schedule. If Logano and Keselowski dominated at the front of the field, leading 39 and 40 laps, respectively, behind them was chaos. XFINITY Series title contender Regan Smith suffered the brunt of the damage, getting the short end of run-ins with both Ty Dillon and Brendan Gaughan . Smith came home 20th and lost 18 points to XFINITY Series leader Chris Buescher , who finished third. After stopping by Gaughan’s car for a few words post-race, Smith headed for Dillon. The argument started to get physical, before NASCAR officials and crew members separated the drivers. Dillon admitted making two mistakes during the race, the first of which spun Smith’s JR Motorsports Chevrolet after a restart on Lap 40. What Dillon didn’t countenance was a threat from Smith. "He said he was going to wreck me -- we’ll see," Dillon said. "I took the blame for it, but he came down here picking a fight. That’s a different game." After the altercation, Smith repeated the promise to reporters. "I got dumped in Turn 1," Smith said. "It was pretty plain and simple. I don’t think I’m the only one he dumped today … I guarantee you, I might have lost the championship today, but he did, too. There’s no chance that 3 car wins the championship, and I’m going to make sure of it." Substituting for Kyle Busch , who opted not to run the race in favor of staying fresh for Sunday’s Cup race, road course ace Boris Said finished fourth, followed by Dillon and Brian Scott . Buescher extended his series lead to 24 points over Dillon and seventh-place finisher Chase Elliott . Smith is fourth in the standings, now 57 points behind Buescher. Information provided by NASCAR Wire Service